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April 20, 2007

Illinois Youth Mobilize for 19TH annual National & Global Youth Service Days
Youth volunteers to spend weekend serving their communities

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (ICVCS), through its AmeriCorps*State programs across the state, will mobilize at least 750 young people to participate in the 19th Annual National & Global Youth Service Days on Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21.  Volunteers of all ages throughout Illinois and millions of youth in the United States and in 116 other countries are planning community service projects and special events to celebrate the 19th annual National and Global Youth Service Days.

“Youth are volunteering at record rates – more than any other generation in history,” according to Steven A. Culbertson, president and CEO of Youth Service America, the national coordinating body for NGYSD.  “With 24-hour internet and news shows available, young people are exposed to global coverage and they are reacting to it now – not waiting until they are adults to make a difference in the world,” Culbertson added.

"ICVCS Executive Director Scott Kimmel commended the effort of Illinois' AmeriCorps Members and programs in the planning and coordination of this statewide day of service.  "Our AmeriCorps Leaders, who represent each of our 21 AmeriCorps*State programs across Illinois, have shown exceptional leadership ability in order to ‘get things done’ in their communities this weekend," he said.  "We hope that the youth and others they are recruiting and leading in service at the local level will remember National & Global Youth Service Days 2007 as a positive and fulfilling experience and that they continue to serve their communities in the future."

Projects coordinated through AmeriCorps*State programs in Illinois include the following locations and sponsor agencies:

Belleville – St. Clair County
• Belleville AmeriCorps (program of Southwestern Illinois College) – creation of a community garden, planting trees, and public environmental outreach including youth decorating grocery store bags with environmentally friendly messages

Beardstown – Cass County
• Students in an after school program will prepare a garden and plant vegetables in Beardstown Community Garden and produce grown in the garden goes to people in need of food 

Chicago – Cook County
• City Year Chicago (AmeriCorps*State Program) – creating green spaces, education and community beautification projects
• Project YES! AmeriCorps (program of Northwestern University Settlement House Association) and Asian Human Services AmeriCorps – community garden renewal project
• PCC Westside AmeriCorps (program of PCC Wellness Center) and American Red Cross AmeriCorps – environmental and conservation  education projects
• Public Allies Chicago will prepare a neighborhood garden 

Franklin Grove – Lee County
• ABC AmeriCorps (program of Sauk Valley Community College) – tree planting at Franklin Creek State Natural Area

McHenry – McHenry County
• AmeriCorps of McHenry County (program of McHenry County Mental Health Board) – cleaning the Fox River front and an on-site garden

Mt. Vernon – Jefferson County
• Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps (program of Rend Lake College) – cleaning trails of debris and planting trees at Mt. Vernon City Park

Rock Island – Rock Island County
• Big Brothers Big Sisters AmeriCorps (program of BBBS of the Quad Cities) and children in the MLK after school program – MLK Center clean-up and flower planting

Springfield – Sangamon County
• AmeriCorps Community Enrichment  (ACE) members will spend the day helping out at the Helping Hands homeless shelter in Springfield.

The Illinois motto for NGYSD 2007 is    "You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today."  - Abraham Lincoln

For more information about local events or to get involved, please visit www.ysa.org/map and click on the State of Illinois for projects across the state.  Interested persons may also contact the Commission at 1-800-592-9896.

About N & GYSD 2007

National & Global Youth Service Days (April 20-22 2007), the largest service event in the world, mobilizes youth to identify and address the needs of their communities through service-learning and community service.  Research continues to support service-learning programs as an effective method to increases student academic achievement.  According to a leading researcher in service learning, Shelly Billing from RMC Research Corporation, “Service-learning, when implemented with high quality, yields statistically significant impacts on academic achievement, civic engagement, acquisition of leadership skills, and personal/social development.”

The event is organized by Youth Service America (YSA) with the support of State Farm Companies Foundation as the Presenting Sponsor.  More than 115 National Partners and 51 Lead Agencies throughout the United States organize projects.  Overseas, National Lead Agencies in 116 countries around the world manage national events. Planning Tool Kits, Service-Learning Curriculum Guides, classroom posters, grants, and more are available for youth, parents, teachers and organizations.

Youth Service America is a national nonprofit resource center that partners with thousands of organizations committed to increasing the quality and quantity of volunteer opportunities for young people ages 5 to 25, to serve locally, nationally, and globally.  Founded in 1986, Youth Service America’s mission is to expand the impact of the youth service movement with communities, schools, corporations, and governments.  Youth Service envisions a global culture of engaged youth who are committed to a lifetime of service, learning, leadership, and achievement.  In addition to National & Global Youth Service Days which takes place concurrently each April, YSA also hosts SERVEnet (www.SERVEnet.org), providing the largest database of volunteer opportunities in America.  For more information:  www.YSA.org.


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